Daniel Ricciardo could be destined to leave the F1 grid for the 2023 season, amid rumours he will announce a decision on his future at the upcoming Singapore GP.
McLaren and the 33-year-old Australian mutually agreed to part ways at the end of this season, making Ricciardo a free agent a year before expected.
After his two seasons with McLaren didn't pan out as expected, Ricciardo's standing as a potentially championship winning driver has diminished somewhat, with his main hopes of staying on the F1 grid next season with the backmarkers Williams or Haas.
While Ricciardo's experience could prove valuable for both teams, ahead of the Singapore GP in just over a week he has said he doesn't want to stay in F1 just for the sake of it.
Ricciardo is in the midst of his worst F1 season since his full season debut with Toro Rosso in 2012, having banked just 19 points with six races remaining this season, the he did retire from an almost certain points finish at the Italian GP last weekend due to mechanical issues.
The former Red Bull and Renault driver has previously indicated he would be happy to either sit out of F1 for a year, or take on a test or reserve driver role.
In his most recent comments, the West Australian star appeared more accepting that he won't be on the grid next season.
“I’ve certainly accepted, if I’m not to be on the grid next year, I’m okay with that,” he said.
“I’ve accepted that I’m not going to do everything, or my team’s not going to do everything, just to put me on the grid if it’s not right or it doesn’t make sense.”
Ricciardo will be replaced at McLaren next season by fellow Australian driver Oscar Piastri, who held a reserve driver role for Alpine this season after winning the F3 and F2 championships in back to back seasons.
“Obviously this year’s been challenging, and if I am on the grid, I want to know that it’s a place that I can enjoy it and feel like I can thrive, an environment I feel I can thrive in," Ricciardo said.
“I don’t want to just jump into a car for the sake of it.”
Aussie driver Jack Doohan in mix for Alpine F1 seat
Jack Doohan, son of five-times motorcycle world champion Mick, is a contender to replace Fernando Alonso at the Renault-owned Alpine team, according to chief executive Laurent Rossi.
The 19-year-old is doing well in his rookie Formula Two championship season and is a member of the Alpine driver academy.
Rossi told the F1 website that Doohan was a consideration, even if fourth-placed Alpine would prefer someone more experienced who would be able to score big points immediately.
"We believe in him, he's shown a lot of potential, especially lately - talk about being present at the right moment," Rossi said.
"He's a great person, he is fast, his father is also a champion I admire and a person I admire. One way or another we will try and put him in an F1 car at some point."
Mick Doohan was 500cc world champion, before that class became MotoGP, from 1994-98.
Rossi said, however, that Alpine were "once bitten, twice shy" after the recent contract dispute with Australian reserve driver and 2021 Formula Two champion Piastri.
Alpine had spent heavily on preparing Piastri and had planned to loan him to Williams, in the same way Mercedes did with George Russell.
"We will honour our commitment to all drivers in our academy, but we're wondering whether or not to continue," said Rossi.
"We are torn apart. We believe in the value of the system but if we're not protected, is it worth it?
"We really wonder. It's a big disappointment. Perhaps a big reality check."
Experienced French driver and race winner Pierre Gasly is seen as Alpine's first choice to replace double world champion Fernando Alonso, who is moving to Aston Martin next year, alongside Esteban Ocon.
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